‘The L Word’ defines itself anew with Showtime sequel series

Series returns with premiere of ‘Generation Q’ sequel

Jennifer Beals reprises her role in the sequel series “The L Word: Generation Q,” premiering Sunday on Showtime.

Years later, can a groundbreaking series break more ground?

The makers of “The L Word” hope so. Many of those involved in the original 2004-09 show – one of the first to showcase lesbian characters — return for the new Showtime sequel “The L Word: Generation Q,” premiering Sunday, Dec. 8. Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey and Katherine Moennig (the latter seen since on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan”) reprise their roles and are executive producers of the new project, along with also-returning series creator Ilene Chaiken (“Empire”).

While the continuing characters continue to face personal and professional challenges in present-day Los Angeles, so do new figures played by Arienne Mandi, Leo Sheng, Jacqueline Toboni, Rosanny Zayas and Sepideh Moafi. Fortune Feimster and Olivia Thirlby are among guest stars.

“The world has changed a lot in these ten years,” Chaiken reflects, “and lesbians still belong on television. We’re telling the stories about what’s happened in those ten years, where we are now, and where we’re headed. The feeling was mounting that we should bring the show back, and in addition to the things that we wanted to address, the world of these characters was beloved.”

Jennifer Beals reprises her role in the sequel series “The L Word: Generation Q,” premiering Sunday on Showtime.

“I think what’s interesting about this iteration of the show,” adds Beals, who plays Bette Porter as a mayoral candidate now, “is that we’ve expanded the discussion about sexuality and gender identification. When we were starting the show, nonbinary was a mathematical term, and we’re able in this new iteration of the show to talk about all the other ways that we now talk about gender identity and sexuality.”

Fellow executive producer and showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan came to the new “L Word” as a fan of the original, which she cites as “an aspirational queer narrative where we got to see these people looking as amazing as they do, having incredible jobs and sophisticated friendships and sophisticated romantic relationships. I could then move in the world and understand how to be. There’s so much nuance; every relationship is different, every pairing is different. I hope this show can go on forever, just weaving in and out of people’s lives and really getting to the heart of who they are.”

Still renowned several decades later for her star-making “Flashdance” performance, Beals maintains “The L Word” remains a vessel for understanding. “Everybody wants to find love, everybody wants to find happiness,” she reasons. “I think storytelling can give you an affinity for the characters. They can have you feel compassion and empathy, and you want this character to be with that character. And you don’t care if it’s two women, two men or whatever. Love is love, and it’s an energy that’s not defined by gender or sexual preference.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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